In 1998, at the age of 23, Michelle Zhao moved from China to the U.S. to pursue her MBA in international business and finance. Upon achieving that admirable goal, she accepted a position in the finance industry, which gave her an intimate view of the New York City landscape.
After leaving the corporate world to become a mom, Michelle was approached by friends in China, who were also looking to move to the U.S. They asked for her assistance in finding a suitable property. She accepted the challenge and, in the process, discovered that she had a real knack for it. “My friends told me, ‘You’re so great at this, why don’t you get your real estate license?’ Because I enjoyed the experience greatly, I took them up on their suggestion and the rest is history,” she says.
Today, Michelle leads a team of marketing, sales, and support professionals at Berkshire Hathaway Laffey International Realty in the Long Island, New York, region. With a focus on luxury primary and investment homes, Michelle and her team employ their multicultural and multilingual backgrounds to forge lasting relationships with international, as well as domestic, buyers and sellers. These deep cultural associations allow her to truly connect with clients, especially those in China, who are considering relocation. “They trust me not only because I speak their language, but because I can relate to them and I understand their unique needs as international buyers,” she says.
Michelle’s accomplishments have earned her the respect of both colleagues and clients, but she is best known for her unwavering dedication—to the point that not even a global pandemic can stop her. During COVID-19, she was able to execute over 40 transactions valued at $40M. This led to a position among the top 6% of realtors nationwide, and status as a top realtor in her office for sales and listings. She is also credited with listing the Chapel Hill Mansion, one of New York’s most famous historic homes. For Michelle, however, success is not just about the sale, but about helping people realize their dreams. “The relationship doesn’t end at the closing table,” she says. “The team and I make a concerted effort to maintain our relationships with clients near and far, and we have a strong social media presence so they can always get in touch. We want to follow their journeys and serve their evolving needs. Just like every family has a family doctor, we are our clients’ trusted real estate advisor for life!”
Michelle Zhao, Realtor — Berkshire Hathaway-Laffey International Realty